Maya // Labná
Continuing my Maya photo series, we’re in the Puuc hills at Labná, dating from between A.D. 600 and 900, and only a short way from Uxmal, the ceremonial centre of this region. You are greeting by turkeys, a caretaker’s thatched-roof house and soon, El Palacio – the ruins of a large building in the Puuc-style of architecture. Chaac masks are present, a serpent is seen with a human face emerging from the mouth (image above) and a reconstructed sacbé leads to the open middle grounds. Sacbé is the ‘white road’ the ancient Maya constructed as sacred walkways connecting their cities. This one had run 30km to Uxmal and points beyond. The stunning arch seen in the middle images has been extensively restored, giving a glimpse of what once was in these parts. Other arches have been lost to time and the jungle. Past the arch is El Castillo – the remains of a pyramid now perched atop a large pile of rubble and rock.
In these images, you can see the landscape of the Yucatán – very flat, dusty and hot yet shaded by the mighty Ceiba tree – the Tree of Life – a common site at Mayan archaeological sites. And this is along the Puuc route, the hilliest area around. Little elevation gained here, yet the smallest of hills in a clearing allows a vista stretching across the land, with pyramids and temples visible in the trees if you look carefully. Labná is a small site worth a visit for the arch alone, and visitors will be rewarded with a deeper look at the natural state of these ruins after the jungle has been cleared.
Stay tuned for another gem on the Puuc route – Kabah, coming up next.
Labná, Yucatán, México, 2008.